Dubai: 6 must-sees for a magical holiday

Known for its dizzying architecture, skyscrapers and archipelagos, Dubai never ceases to impress. The majestic buildings, such as the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall, may seem familiar, but the city has no end of surprises in store, with other buildings and activities just as enchanting.

Gaël and Grâce, the lifestyle influencer duo from the 'Couple of G' Instagram account, were able to discover other facets of the city. This original trip, combining tradition, magic and thrills, plunged them into a daydream. Here, they share their favourites and their top tips for a simple yet extraordinary experience in Dubai. Ready to experience the magic of Dubai?

 Un hélicoptère survolant l'île The Palm et l'hôtel Atlantis
© Heli Dubai / Dubai Tourism

Travelling through traditional Dubai

As soon as they arrived in Dubai, Gaël and Grâce were immersed in the historic and authentic side of the city. While waiting for the skyscrapers, extraordinary shows and dizzying activities, the couple began by discovering the ramparts of the old fishing town, before visiting the Shindagha museum, which recounts the life of the local inhabitants, and strolling through the narrow streets of the historic Al Fahidi district.

For a traditional experience, crossings by 'abra', a typical boat, allow you to navigate the Dubai Creek and visit the textile, spice and gold souks. Here, many things have left their mark, starting with the smell of spices, particularly curry, the star ingredient of Indian dishes. A lot of Pakistanis and Indians live in Dubai, a mix that really appealed to Grâce: "What we liked in this district were the colours, the smells, but also the close proximity of the religious buildings. You find a mosque opposite a Hindu temple and people live in harmony, it's a beautiful sight".

Abras", traditional boats on Dubai Creek
© Sergii Figurnyi / Shutterstock

Admire the view from the glass lift at Sky Views Observatory

It's impossible to go to Dubai without having some dizzying and sensational experiences, and that's just what Gaël and Grâce wanted! Head to the Address Sky View hotel to discover the Sky View Observatory, a two-storey platform offering a panoramic view of the city and its immense towers, such as the Burj Khalifa and its dazzling turquoise lake. To get there, you have to take a glass lift up to the 53rd floor.

A breathtaking view is already revealed, and a feeling of floating in mid-air with the void beneath your feet overwhelms you. Although they were a little apprehensive about heights, the couple were thoroughly impressed by this activity, which is one of their favourite things to do in Dubai. The little extra: the Sky Glass Slide, a 12-metre glass slide that lets you slide down one floor into the void, a bit like Aladdin on his magic carpet. Amazing!

"To avoid the crowds, go early in the morning, as many locals and tourists come here in the evening to watch the sunset."

Couple of G

Flying over Dubai in a helicopter

The sheer scale of the city can make you feel very small when you visit Dubai, but it's hard to really grasp the immensity of the city without getting a bit of a bird's eye view. Helicopter flights are organised for tourists wishing to get a better view of this former fishing village that has become the futuristic city we know today. From the air, it's an impressive experience.

For around 15 minutes, spectacular and majestic landscapes unfold before astonished eyes. You can see the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower at 828 metres, the Palm Jumeirah archipelago in the shape of a palm tree, and the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah hotel on its own island.

Couple of G taking a helicopter ride in Dubai
© Compte Instagram Couple of G

"For the best view, choose the front seats and dress lightly - it's hot even at altitude."

Couple of G

Desert safari

A trip to Dubai guarantees a mix of authenticity and modernity. So when the mood strikes, leave the skyscrapers behind and make way for the desert dunes. The desert is less than an hour from the city. With its distinctive red sand and unique colours, the Dubai desert is a playground for thrill-seekers. And the dunes provide the perfect setting for a whole host of activities, including sand skiing, buggies and safaris. The latter is undoubtedly one of the must-do activities in Dubai.

After speeding up and down the dunes in a 4x4, the driver stops at the best spots in the desert to let you take your best photos. The route continues on to a Bedouin village, where you can enjoy a festive dinner in a typical, warm atmosphere. On the programme: oriental dance show, fire-eaters, henna tattooing and buffet.

4x4 safari in the dunes of the Dubai desert
© PixHound / shutterstock

"We loved it, it captures the soul of Dubai and is a must-do experience on any trip to the city. A word of advice? Bring a scarf to protect yourself from the sand if you go buggy-riding in the dunes."

Couple of G

Experience the thrills of the world's largest water park

After a helicopter flight over the island, it's time to head to The Palm Island for a full day of activities at the Atlantis Hotel. This is where you'll find Aquaventure Waterpark, the world's largest water park. The experience is unique. To get around the park, you'll take a buggy to the 105 slides and other attractions, where you might even try your hand at surfing or floating in a river. The couple advise thrill-seekers to try the slide as a group. For Gaël, "it was really top notch, it's a great thrill, you go through all sorts of emotions, we laughed, we were scared, the buoy actually took off from the slide".

For her part, Grâce was keen to emphasise the cleanliness and safety of the site, "as soon as you enter they give you socks, you're never barefoot (...) lifeguards are positioned every 10 metres near the river". What I love about Dubai is that everything is clean and very safe. There's no paper on the ground, no cigarette butts, no theft, no tagging and cameras everywhere".

Take part in an aquatic fairytale

It's not just the outdoor spaces that are spectacular in Dubai. Just a 10-minute drive from the Dubai Mall, the show La Perle is sure to leave you breathless. This fairytale combines acrobatics, music, dance and waterfalls. Imagine a stage filling up with water in front of you, so much so that a pool forms before your very eyes. It's hard to gauge the depth of this ephemeral pool until an acrobat leaps from a platform 25 metres high and dives before disappearing into the depths. Magical and disconcerting, this tale, like a modern-day Little Prince, is the icing on the cake of an enchanting trip to Dubai.

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Palazzo Versace Dubai

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Practical information

👉 How do I get there?

The city has two airports: Dubai International Airport (DXB or OMDB) and Dubai World Central or the Al Maktoum International (DWC or OMDW).

The closest airport to the centre of Dubai is Dubai International Airport.

👉 How do I get to the city centre?

  • By taxi, the journey takes between 20 and 30 minutes. The journey will cost you around AED 60 (around €15).

  • By metro: the metro's red line passes through terminals 1 and 2 and serves the city's most popular tourist areas (Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall, Dubai Marina, etc.). The journey takes between 30 and 40 minutes.

Fares vary according to the area covered, but for your stay we recommend you buy a NOL Card from an ATM.

  • The bus: if you want to immerse yourself in the local culture! Buses are equipped with Wi-Fi and air conditioning. To get to the city centre, take line 32C or C1.

  • The hotel shuttle: yes, you don't always think about it, but some hotels offer a shuttle service to pick you up at the airport (and sometimes even drop you off on your return). There may be a charge for this service, so check with your hotel before you leave.

👉 When is the best time to visit Dubai?

The high season lasts from December to April and temperatures are pleasant (between 25 and 30°).

July and August are the hottest periods, and temperatures can exceed 40°!

by Editorial Team
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